Stuart Lancaster trims squad ahead of Ireland game


The following players will remain and train with England tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin (3pm).

England Senior training squad (25)

Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) will stay in camp for ongoing treatment on an ankle injury.

The following players have this evening been released to return to their Aviva Premiership clubs:

Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Will Fraser (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)

33 thoughts on “Stuart Lancaster trims squad ahead of Ireland game

  1. I think Goode must be starting if Foden has gone back to Saints, but there must be a reason why SL does not want Foden in the squad. Maybe he doesn’t think he’s completely match fit? Anyway I just hope we see Big Billy on the bench (or starting) and not Waldrom. I think Billy offers a lot more than Waldrom.

  2. Agreed with all of the other comments above about Foden. Hopefully Goode just had a poor game last Saturday and will now justify his selection. Hope Brown has been working on his kicking!

  3. I’d keep

    Burns for Flood
    Foden for Brown
    Botha for Lawes

    I’ve never understood why Lawes is bigged up so much, He’s just a very lazy glory boy more interested in having run than putting in some serious graft.

    Flood has been too inconsistent and I’d like to see what Burns can do.

    Didn’t rate Browns performance but I don’t think much alternative is present there.

        1. Completely disagree in regards to Lawes. He made his name mainly due to him having the stats of a back row, but playing in the second row.

          I can’t see the justification for thinking Lawes doesn’t give 100%. I question ever further the idea of Botha being next in line?

          1. completely agree with you Jacob. Not only was (and potentially still is) Lawes a name considered for the lions, but where it not for the absolute standout performances of Launchbury and Parling (again two name clearly being talked about as lions) then he would clearly be the first choice lock for england.

            botha has managed to do a fat load of sod all for england (other than of course fumbling the kick off into touch when england played SA, thereby ruining the chance to win the game)

            Lawes not only hits his rucks and mauls (which botha can do) but he also carries effectively, and the biggest part of his game is his tackling. i refer you again to the link that i have posted…

            Lawes is an outstanding athlete, and he gives 100% every time he pulls on a saints or england shirt.

  4. Yeah,we lack pace at the back.I’m not sure that even Foden has scorching pace and don’t think he’s the answer on the wing.Brown is great under the high ball and should be given the 15 shirt for the Ireland match,but we need a genuine winger.And I don’t mean Strettle.

  5. Lancaster obviously thinks Goode’s poor performance was down to match fitness.

    I think long term Foden will make a better wing than Brown.

    1. i agree with your comment on goode’s performance probably being down to lack of match fitness.

      my only issue with that (and i mean issue with SL’s selection, not your point) is that foden has been back fro injury longer than goode, and is therefore closer to full match fitness, so i dont understand why he was dropped for the first match…

      foden has more finishing power than pretty much any other back 3 player in the england squad (excluing maybe ashton) and i think that he would be a great 11 for england. i think brown at 15 is the way forward too, especially with 12Ts at 12.

      Brown’s ariel prowess should be used in the more central role of fullback against ireland, who will send kearny chasing high kicks all day.

      1. Would that be a good plan? There’s no better man than Kearney at chasing high kicks and counter attacking.


        1. thats exactly why i said that brown would be needed to try and counter the threat of kearny chasing high balls. he is by far the best of england fullbacks (in the EPS and not) at claiming the high ball. he would have to on top of his game to be able to try and reduce kearny’s effectiveness of getting the high ball.

          kearney is the premier fullback for claiming highballs, both offensively and defensively. with all this talk of “we have to pick barritt to defend against BOD”, brown has to play 15 to counter kearny through the middle.

  6. Who the top try scorer in premiership and not even in him closely and he doesnt make many mistakes but when you get labelled.o.driscol wilkinson mc call make mistakes but only the good things are mentioned .

  7. Starting to get a bot confused by the Foden omission? He isn’t lacking match fitness, he has been back since December.

    Last week I thought, ok he wants to give Goode another chance after a good AI series, but now how can he not bring Foden back?

    Foden needs to have the 11 shirt, with Brown at 15. Goode is surplus to requirements with 12trees there.

    1. could be a suggestion that 12Ts wont start, therefore making goode not surplus to requirements…

      agree that foden should be in, and he is fit now, he is also the fastest of the 3 fullbacks, and i believe is 2nd only to ashton (and maybe Manu) in his try scoring prowess.

  8. Looking at it from a different point of view, perhaps there is a chance that all three centres will start. You have Barritt and 12Ts keeping their spots with Tuilagi moved out to the wing, per se, and Brown dropping to FB. This way you can maintain Barritt’s defensive capabilities with Tuilagi moving inside when attacking in the Irish half. Goode then moves to the bench to cover three positions and can be used as an impact sub on tired legs. It was something I thought could be a possibility earlier this week to accommodate all three. Thoughts?

    Additionally, ludicrous that Burns has been sent back to Gloucester. Flood has 50-odd caps and, bar the odd game or two, has never proved himself. I’d much rather see Burns coming off the bench than Flood.

    1. With regards to Tuilagi moving to the wing. He is a very similar player to Wesley Fofana and whilst his move to the wing may have worked in theory, it certainly did not in practice against Italy. Do you think the same could be true of Manu?

  9. Regarding Flood over Burns: perhaps Lancaster’s thinking is that he wants experience over the unproven in certain areas as this is the likely Grand Slam decider, and we lost heavily to Ireland the last time we were in Dublin. Granted his philosophy to date is blood the untested, which is proving its worth in so many positions, but for such an important game Flood is solid over Freddie Burns who could go either way (His debut against the ABs was good, but in a tight game he may initially struggle).

    I echo your point, Chris, that I am baffled by Foden’s exclusion. Strettle has not performed in my opinion. Yes, he came on when our structure and disclipline was tiring on Saturday, but he could have done a lot more for Hogg’s try. My only conclusion is that a combination of Foden needing match fitness, credit in the bank (I enjoy how this is suddenly England’s new buzz phrase) for Goode and Brown at FB. Personally I completely agree with Nick W in that Tuilagi should move to the wing and be in the George North type role of moving inside to punch those holes. Start 36 and Brad. That way, with Brown at FB, we have a pretty solid defence but do not lose that attacking potency.

    I hope that the 36 and Farrell combination is no just limited to the Scotland game, as it seemed to bring out the best in both.

    1. I don’t think that Tuilagi should ever do on the wing in an international test match. He has absolutely no kicking game and I have never seen him take a high ball. Id he was to be on the wing then Sexton and Kearney would have a field day kicking the ball down to him.

      I would have Tuilagi on the bench and bring him on for Barritt with about 20 minutes left.

      1. Well, the only teams yet to have lost a game are Italy, England and Ireland.

        Much as they played well, I can’t see Italy winning the remainder of their games.

        Which leaves only England and Ireland.

        So, at the end of this game, only one team will be able to win the Grand Slam.

        Therefore, this match is the Grand Slam decider.

        (it doesn’t mean that the winner WILL win the GS, just that they will be the only ones in the running – again excepting Italy)

  10. Tuilagi on the wing – no. France have arguably the best centre in the world at the moment in Fofana. They put him on the wing and his influence on the game was pretty much nothing. Case closed.

    If Tuilagi is fit, he plays with Barritt for defensive organisation with Twelvetrees as an impact sub. I really like 36 and his time will come, certainly by the AI’s this year, but ease him into the international scene gently. He had an element of surprise on his side against Scotland. Ireland have a whole game tape to analyse and BoD to play.

  11. agreed that Tuilagi should play centre, he is one of englands most potent weapons-why lose that with an un-necessary positional change? Personally i would like to see Barritt/Tuilagi with Twelvetrees on the bench. I only keep Barritt ahead of Twelvetrees for defensive organisation.

    Not sure who is better than Foden to be honest but Lancaster obviously doesn’t see him fitting in the squad at the moment. Goode would make sense at 15 if Barritt plays 12?

    Lastly, with Morgan out interesting to see Waldrom, Haskell and Vunipola retained – could be a match deciding choice considering Irelands back row?

    1. Lancaster has already said that if Morgan doesn’t make it (which he won’t) they’re going with 6. Hask 7. Robshaw 8. Wood. The only debate is who gets the bench spot Billy or Waldrom. Waldrom makes less mistakes but Billy is an absolute machine I probably go Billy.

  12. I reckon Foden being sent home is a firm sign that Tuilagi and Barritt will be starting.

    I think if he hadn’t been intending to start those two, then he’d have kept Foden in, as with 12T in the centre, Goode becomes redundant as a second playmaker and can be replaced with a proper fullback.

  13. I would be surprised if Foden was indeed quicker than Brown. Yes, he looks quicker, but they have very different running styles. Anyhow I agree that with him going home, it does look nailed on that Goode will start. Quite right too, one average game after a few good(e) ones is not the time to drop him.
    Centres? Well I am with Jacob on this; never put Tuilagi on the wing at this level – unless you can guarantee 100% possession; and I would also start him on the bench this saturday – for 2 reasons.

    Firstly, Twelvetrees/Barritt deserve another go, Tuilagi is coming back from injury, and it is good form to stay with those in possession – especially as they performed so well.

    Secondly, I believe that a fit and firing O’Driscoll could show up Tuilagi defensively, and I would be happier for Barritt to hold the line for the first half and bring in Tuilagi (somewhere) during the second.

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